A CAR veered off the road and smashed into the front of a Canvey restaurant in the middle of the night causing serious damage.

The driver of the car lost control of the vehicle and careered into the front of Douro Valley, in Furtherwick Road, at about 1am yesterday.

The force of the impact caused the railings alongside the road to be ripped up and flung into the shop front.

The front windows, wall and foyer of the restaurant have all been badly damaged and it is estimated that the restaurant will be closed for about a month for the repairs to be made.

The car and its driver did not stop at the scene and police are trying to search for the person responsible.

Staff at the restaurant had fortunately left the area about an hour before after operating their normal Saturday evening hours from 6pm to midnight.

Liliana Amaral, who works at the restaurant, said: “A car smashed into the restaurant during the night, luckily nobody was hurt.

“The driver drove off straight away, but I think the police now have the car so hopefully they will find out who it was.

“There has been a lot of damage made to the inside of the restaurant.

“We will definitely be re-opening, we just don’t know when.

“We have to wait now until the insurance people tell us what’s happening.

“It’s most likely we will have to close for a month or so, but we will re-open as soon as possible.”

“We’ll be contacting everyone who has made bookings and will be working hard to re-open as soon as possible.

“We will do our best to keep customers updated and will let people know when we re-open.”

Pictures of the extent of the damage to the inside of the restaurant were shared on Douro Valley’s Facebook page.

Canvey residents reacted to the pictures on Facebook.

One person said: “Just getting worse on this island. Something has got to be done otherwise the shops will close down and it will be a ghost town.”

Another resident added: “I used to live in a nice clean and respectable street but now people are constantly causing havoc and damaging things.

“The council and police need to work together to get this once nice place, back to a happy community.”

Police have cordoned off the area surrounding the restaurant until further notice.

Anyone with information can call Essex Police on 101.